After less than a week of working and living onboard Norwegian Encore, a crew member has ended his career at sea. 

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice and a criminal affidavit from the FBI, Ntando Sogoni of South Africa was arrested after allegedly attacking multiple people aboard the Breakaway-class ship. 

The incident, which occurred on the morning of Monday, May 6, 2024, took place after the 35-year-old crew member was seen trying to deploy a lifeboat for no clear reason.

Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

Members of the ship’s security team took Sogoni to the onboard medical center to be mentally and physically assessed, where he physically assaulted a security guard and a male nurse inside an examination room. 

The scuffle then moved to another examination room, where Sogoni attacked a 75-year-old woman with a pair of medical scissors, causing injuries to her arm, hand, and face. He then wounded two more security guards who intervened to detain the crew member before he was safely confined in the onboard jail.

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The victims’ names have not been released to protect their privacy, but authorities say the injuries were not life threatening.

The next morning, on May 7, the crew member was taken into custody by the FBI shortly after the 3,998-guest ship docked in Juneau, Alaska. Sogoni’s arrest came just two days after he joined the ship in Seattle, Washington, on Sunday, May 5. 

The FBI charged Sagoni with assault with a dangerous weapon within maritime and territorial jurisdiction. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. A federal district court judge will determine his sentence at a later date. 

For now, the case is being investigated by the FBI Anchorage Field Office, FBI Juneau Resident Agency, and U.S. Coast Guard. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt is leading the prosecution. 

Although events like this are shocking, they are very rare and not typically something to be worried about. While it’s always smart to remain aware of one’s surroundings, cruise ships are generally quite safe, and usually possess their own onboard security teams and firefighting divisions.

Public areas are also typically monitored with surveillance cameras, allowing security team members to respond to crises quickly and efficiently.

Norwegian Encore in Alaska (Photo Credit: EWY Media / Shutterstock)

Additionally, crew members typically go through an intense interview and training process, which is meant to weed out the bad seeds before they make it onboard. Of the approximately 1,735 crew members onboard Norwegian Encore, only Sogoni posed a problem and he was quickly detained and removed. 

In an interview with KTOO, Juneau’s local news station, FBI Public Affairs Officer Chloe Martin confirmed that there is no further danger onboard Norwegian Encore. 

“This was an isolated incident, and there’s no threat to other passengers,” said Martin.

Read Also: Are Cruises Safe? What You Really Need to Know

With Sogoni removed, the 169,116-gross ton vessel can carry on with its Alaska season. As of the time of publication, no delays or itinerary changes have been announced as a result of the alleged assault. 

From now until October, Norwegian Encore will be offering 7-night cruises to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and Ketchikan in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. All sailings are round-trip from Seattle, Washington. 

Norwegian Encore is also only one of five ships the cruise line sent to the region for the busy 2024 season. Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Sun, and Norwegian Spirit are all sailing to Alaska at least once throughout the summer. 

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